This trade looks amazing for all teams involved. The Lakers, 76ers, Nuggets, and Magic all accomplished their goals. Unlike ESPN, I'll shed light on the reasons why this deal works for every angle.
Los Angeles Lakers
Get: Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Chris Duhon
Give: Andrew Bynum (PHI), 1st Round Pick (ORL), Josh McRoberts (ORL), Christian Eyenga (ORL)
You're all going to hear a lot of reasons why this works. Offensively, the Lakers just got a strong low post presence to go with their outside shooting of Kobe and Nash. Imagine the pick-and-rolls with Howard and Nash. Obviously Kobe will demand the ball, and that's fine, but he'll be able to dump the ball off the a sure-handed center (taking nothing away from Bynum, but he wasn't established until last year). When he drives inside, he'll be able to feed it to Dwight to slam it home. Pau will open the lanes for this team to attack by camping out in mid-range land.
Defensively, Kobe still works hard on that end of the floor. He's a good on-ball defender even at his advanced age. Metta World Artest is not nearly a s good as he used to be, but that's fine. He can still stay in front of guys and has the ability to close out on jump shots. Of course there's the worst defensive point guard in the NBA. He won't be able to defend Russell Westbrook (as if anyone can do that) but he's a decent help defender. Also, once Westbrook (and Paul, and Conley, and Parker, and Curry, and Collison, and Thomas, Rivers, and Dragic, and Lin, and Lawson, and Rubio, and Lillard, and Williams. Oops, didn't mean to name every PG in the Western Conference. But I digress) gets by him, two defensive monsters are waiting there to slap the ball into the 5th row. Gasol and Howard are great rim protectors and working together it will be a tough task trying to score in the paint against this team. Westbrook and Durant will still score though.
I refuse to hand them the Western Conference title based on this, but it makes them a gigantic threat to OKC.
Get: Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson
Give: Andre Iguodala (DEN), Nikola Vucevic (ORL), Maurice "I Thought I Told ESPN To Stop Calling Me Moe" Harkless (ORL), 1st Round Pick (ORL)
The Sixers have finally done two things that they needed to do. Get rid of Iguodala, and get a star. I love Andre, but they've been trying to trade him forever and it gets to a point when it just needs to happen. It's happened. They've also added the star power that they need by getting Bynum. In my NBA Draft Recap 2012, I stated that they should make this type of move:
"The Sixers added more depth with Maurice "Not Moe, Okay, Stop Calling Me Moe" Harkless and Arnett Moultrie. They keep adding productive players, but they really need to make a big trade to turn some of these guys into some star power. They will stay young and athletic, which will get them into the playoffs on a yearly basis, but that one star will put them over the top."Andrew Bynum is a strong presence in the middle that can grab rebounds and score in the post. Now that Kobe isn't there to dominate the ball, Bynum can actually get to work and take care of his business down low. He's too overpowering for almost any center to stop him from getting to the rack. Working with Jrue Holiday, who is a very underrated passer, he'll have the opportunity to shine. They are not going to challenge the Heat just yet, but they need one more B+ type player to get there.
Get: Andre Iguodala
Give: Arron Afflalo (ORL), Al Harrington (ORL) 1st Round Pick (ORL)
I cannot love this move enough. Cannot. It's impossible. To me, guys like Andre Iguodala and Andrei Kirilenko have always been wildly under-appreciated. Athletic wing defender who can create turnovers and give his team chances on the break and can finish the break himself. Stat stuffer who can do it all, not a knock-down shooter, but very good and can also get to the rim. Not elite, but not very far off. A-/B+ level. Pair him with another young athletic forward in Danilo Gallinari, and young athletic guys JaVale McGee, Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, and Ty Lawson, this team will get up and down the floor. Gallinari can move to the 4 and will use him quickness to elude the big guys with whom he is matched up against. This team will be so fun to watch, but they do need a star in order to get the upper-echelon, but this team can make some noise.
Get: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice "I Thought I Told ESPN To Stop Calling Me Moe" Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga, Three 1st Round Picks
Give: Dwight Howard (LAL), Earl Clark (LAL), Chris Duhon (LAL), Jason Richardson (PHI)
Folks, this is the way to blow it up. In the NBA (and all sports for that matter), you need to be a championship contender, or completely terrible. Middling 1st-Round-Exit teams don't get anywhere until they too blow it up. If you're terrible, that leads to good draft picks, and that eventually leads to becoming a championship contender. They cleared cap space and they've put themselves into position to be terrible for a few years. They could hit or miss on a few picks, and if they win the lottery, they could get a transcendent one-in-a-generation player who will flip the franchise around. I applaud Rob Hennigan for having the balls to put a gigantic row of dynamite to this team even though this strategy is never popular with the fans. Great job. I love this.